Monday, August 31, 2009

The 5 Most Common Building Site and Construction Accidents

Many of our Pennsylvania workers' compensation clients are construction workers. In my years as a workers' compensation lawyer, I've seen just about every type of work injury there is to get on a construction or building site. This article explores some of the more common construction accidents in the workplace.


Ladders always carry a danger. When ladders are used to move between different levels on a construction site injury can be caused in a number of ways. One of the more serious injuries we have seen was when someone had failed to secure a ladder to the next level. As the user ascended the ladder it came away from the scaffolding causing him to fall over 30 feet to the floor, shattering his heel in the process.

Other injuries using ladders occur when someone is carrying equipment which is too heavy, causing them to fall away from the ladder, or when there is insufficient ladder protruding above the next level causing the user to miss their footing with nothing to hold onto.Falling Debris.

Another common cause of accidents is debris falling from a height landing on workers on lower levels or working on the ground levels. Depending on the item that is dropped (from wooden planks to brickwork) and the height it is falling these accidents can cause severe injuries.Falling From Heights.

Due the nature of a construction site many workers are working at several stories high. Roofers particularly are at risk from falling from a great height. If the fall is as a result of poorly constructed scaffolding or a defective roof you may be able to make a claim for compensation. This could also be the case if you have not been provided with the correct safety equipment or the right level and amount of training.


If you are using power tools on a construction site these can lead to injury either through defects in the machinery itself, inadequate training or failure to provide the correct safety equipment.

Trips and Slips.

Due to the amount of equipment on a construction site it is quite common for workers to slip or trip over discarded equipment or debris and suffer injury. This can be particularly hazourdous if the trip or slip leads the victim to fall into holes on the site. Trips and slips are a common hazard on a building site, and whilst each employee must take all necessary action to prevent injury, if the employer has failed to take the necessary steps you will be able to make a claim for compensation.Summary.

A construction site is a dangerous place to work, but your employer must do all that they can to keep you safe. If they fail to discharge their duty to protect you and you suffer injury, you can make a claim for compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of earnings and any other expenses.

Thanks to Nick Jervis for this information. You can read more about being Injured At Work? Find out more about Work Accidents generally and read our Free Work Accident Claims Guide. Nick Jervis is a solicitor (non-practising) and a consultant to Work Accident Solicitors who specialise in Work Accident Claims.

Monday, August 24, 2009

5 Of The Most Common Accidents At Work

1.Wet floors.

Wet floors in the working environment can be treacherous. They are particularly dangerous in restaurants and hotels when waiting staff are normally walking quickly from tables to the kitchen and returning. Often spillages can be left on the floor unattended and waiting staff, not knowing about them, return to the kitchen with their sight blocked by the items they are carrying and slip on the floor.

Whilst most slipping injuries thankfully do not lead to serious injuries, if the waiter or waitress is carrying items, this often prevents them from softening their fall with their hands meaning that they can fall on elbows or on their hips. This can lead to serious fractures.Often the leak on the floor in the first place could have been cleared more quickly or if it was caused by faulty machinery this should have been repaired. It is the failure to repair or clean up the leak that often leads to a successful accident at work claim.

2. Factory Accidents.

Factories can be particularly dangerous places to work. This section does not deal with the common machinery accidents that feature later as one of the top five, but more to do with the people involved and the materials used in factories. The most common type of factory accident normally involve workers tripping over discarded packaging. Every employer must ensure that the packaging used is placed in safe containers and not thrown on to the floor. However, if an employer does not ensure the staff are trained correctly or provide facilities for disposal of packaging, this can lead to it being discarded and workers tripping over it.

Once again, as with tripping accidents, quite frequently no serious injury is sustained. However, sometimes fractures to legs and arms lead to serious pain, time away from work and an accident at work claim being made.

3. Warehouse Accidents.

There are many different types of warehouse accidents, but one of the most common forms involves storage facilities. If warehousemen are constantly stacking and unstacking shelves any weakness in the shelf can lead to them collapsing. In the worst cases this can actually lead to a trapping injury when shelving comes away from the wall and falls on to the warehouse person. These can lead to serious injuries and long term complications.

If the shelving was not correctly positioned in the first place or was not maintained, this can lead to a successful accident at work compensation claim.

4. Forklift Truck Accidents.

These are frequently the cause of accidents. Every forklift truck driver must receive training and the employer must ensure that only trained people use the forklift truck. If they do not supervise sufficiently and untrained handlers use the forklift truck, or even trained handlers use the forklift truck but drop pallets or cause items to fall on to other co-workers, this can lead to a successful claim for compensation.

5. Machinery Accidents.

Although left until last, the injuries sustained during the use of machinery can be extremely severe. If staff are not properly trained, or the machinery is not maintained, or guards are not fitted, workers can suffer severe injuries leading to amputations and even in some cases death. Machinery is by its nature, dangerous and the utmost care must be exercised by workers and by employers.

Thanks to Attorney Nick Jervis for this information. Read more about being Injured At Work? Find out more about Work Accidents generally and read our Free Work Accident Claims Guide. Nick Jervis is a solicitor (non-practising) and a consultant to Work Accident Solicitors who specialise in Work Accident Claims.

Friday, August 7, 2009

IME Doctor Owes Duty of Care to Injured Worker, Arizona Court Rules

The Arizona Court of Appeals has recently ruled that an independent medical examiner, who is performing an examination on an injured worker on behalf of the insurance company, has a duty of care to that injured worker.

In the case of Ritchie v Krasner, the Plaintiff, Jeremy Ritchie, hurt his back at work, suffering a bruised spinal cord and compression of the cervical spinal cord. The workers' compensation insurance carrier hired Dr. Scott Krasner to perform an independent medical examination on Mr. Ritchie, which is the standard procedure in almost every state. Dr. Krasner basically concluded that Mr. Ritchie was fine and he was able to perform unrestricted work.

However, after 8 months of continued pain and his condition worsening, Mr. Ritchie treated with a neurologist who found that his cervical spinal cord had compressed and could not be fixed by surgery. Thus, this condition was permanent and painful.

Ritchie filed suit against Dr. Krasner, against the doctor who performed the original medical examination of behalf of the workers' compensation insurance carrier. Ultimately, the appeals court held that IME doctors have a duty to perform at the normal standard of care for all doctors of their specialty.

Mr. Ritchie's lawyer indicated that "the signs and symptoms Ritchie had should have alerted the doctor. But they didn't. Either he missed them, or - depending on how cynical you want to be - he was given his marching orders to terminate Ritchie's benefits, which is what he did."

Most likely, the doctor was basically following orders from the insurance company. In our practice, there are several insurance company doctors who are used often because the carriers know that the doctor will rule in the employer's favor and against the employee. These doctors are used over and over and over again. Although this is not the law currently in Pennsylvania, it certainly demonstrates the possibility that IME doctors can be held accountable for their actions.